expand horizons

It is good to widen the creative approach, to expand the horizons.  Seek inspiration always.  Mostly my inspiration is in nature, among the trees.  I’m inspired by sunlight and shadows.  Getting out of my routine though, and shaking things up proves to be an excellent way to add a new aspect to my art.

I visited a city today.  More specifically, I took myself to an art museum in the city.  But, while finding parking I was distracted by the beautiful buildings, the brick, the concrete.  And so the city inspired me.

The exhibit at the art museum was “Endangered Species” and was about just that, the role that man has played in the destruction of our planet.  It was disturbing and poignant and beautiful and thought provoking all at that the same time.

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The museum itself is a beautiful idea, named The Lightcatcher for it’s curved, translucent wall that stands 37 feet high and 180 feet long.  I enjoyed observing the building as a whole as well as taking in the exhibit it hosted.

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A few blocks away stands the old City Hall, now home to the history museum.  It is a glorious, old building, standing tall and proud.  I think I captured it’s stature well in these next few photographs.

 

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The sky was gray and it began to rain but I stood under these great big trees in the middle of this city and just adored the changing leaves, the greatness of the trees amid the concrete.

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And the final photo of the day, a splash of color down a dingy alley.  Dumpsters and garbage and graffiti and this patchwork of beauty….

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So, while most of what I photograph is beautiful island scenes, landscapes and nature, that is not where beauty is quarantined to.  As a creative soul, as a human in general, it is profitable to expand your horizons.  Look around the next bend, travel over the crest of the hill.  Visit the exhibits at museums.  Walk down that alley.  Look up.  Look around.

my dad’s camera

Of all the images I have captured, this one may be my favorite for so many reasons.

On the surface this is an image of my dad’s camera, a relic of an age passed.  It is held by my son, his grandson.  These things make this very close to my heart.

But deeper.  I captured something in this image that has eluded me, it is an air, an artistic emotion that lives in light and texture.  Capturing these things in this moment has inspired me to seek the same in future projects.

To my own eye, I prefer the image in the muted colors but I have also edited it to a simple black and white.  Which speaks more to you?  I would love to know your opinion!

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*Afga Billy Record 8.8 camera, manufactured about 1938 in Munich, Germany

a host of golden daffodils

The first day of Spring found me standing knee deep in fields of bright daffodils.  And there is just nothing that can prepare a person for that sea of soft yellow.  There are not even words to describe the experience.  So I rely on the words of William Wordsworth in his poem “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud“.

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I wander’d lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

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Continuous as the stars that shine

and twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretch’d in never-ending line

along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

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The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

in such a jocund company!

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

what wealth the show to me had brought.

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For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

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If you ever find yourself in a field of golden daffodils I would urge you to stop, kneel down, and take a moment to inhale the sweet fragrance of Spring, eyes closed, heart open.

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snow storm

Setting out from home, camera in hand, ready for a day of whatever may come. Isn’t that how the best adventures usually happen?

Not twenty minutes from home and the sky let loose with a wild snow storm.

This unexpected snow storm, after it had said it’s peace, gave way to gorgeous sunshine. And this is what dreams are made of.

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Top photo: Rasar State Park

Middle two photos: Edison, Washington

Last photo: Bow, Washington

breath of gratitude

Winter persists.

Patches of snow cling to frozen ground. The sky holds heavy gray clouds promising afternoon snowflakes.

We see you winter.

And from the comfort of my warm home with an abundance of coffee I nod my head to you. You may go home now.

On a frozen, windy morning I shared space with a deer. She was not afraid, rather, curious. It is my practice to only observe, to give space, to give respect and I know she understood that.

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There is a quiet calm that can be found in the outdoors, where nature exists the same today as yesterday and tomorrow. A breath of gratitude, a nod of recognition is all that we must give in return.

In this thought, I will not complain about winter and her lingering about. Instead, I will observe the thick clouds and the falling snowflakes with a heart of thankfulness. I will cling to the moments when I am witness to the beauty within nature and my ability to be there to see it.

bowman bay

There is no shortage of beautiful places to visit on Whidbey Island or the neighboring Fidalgo Island. Recently I spent some time in Bowman Bay, part of the Deception Pass State Park on the Fidalgo side.

Despite gray skies and chilly wind, nature was beautifully displayed. It is always fascinating how much you can see if you’ll just slow down and look. It is called “practicing the pause” and it is applicable in photography as well as music and really any area of life.

Practice the pause, stop and notice, let what is just hang in the air for a moment without the need to change it or move on.

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Have you heard of practicing the pause? How do you apply it in your life?

artistic inspiration

One of the goals over here for the year was to take in the Seattle Art Museum.

Just one month into the new year and that goal has been achieved!

This place, this four stories of creativity, is such a powerhouse of inspiration. The whole city of Seattle, in fact, is a rich tapestry of art and color and emotion.

As steeped in small town as I am, the city offers such an overwhelming concerto of lights and sounds.

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Pike Place Market is such a picture of Seattle, aged by the years and rich in a variety of influences.

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There are always street musicians filling the air with fine music. These girls were really good with kazoos!

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And just as the rain started in earnest and the evening set in, I was able to capture this picture, full of Seattle icons.

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With the rain heavy, the art museum offered a dry respite.

My intent for visiting the museum was to find inspiration for my own work. Research, so to speak.

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I was astonished with the amount of emotion the art depicted. Spanning thousands of years and from every continent, the art conveyed every emotion known to man. There was the sadness of death, the anger of war, the fear of destruction. There was love and lust. There was oppression and freedom.

Certain pieces were very moving, some were confusing. But throughout I was impressed with the skill of the artists to convey without words and regardless of time a message in a bottle, so to speak, sent to whomever might see their work after they were long gone.

It was an overwhelming visit, by sheer volume of the art displayed but also by the inspiration to be had.

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Art is not a thing, it is a way.” -Elbert Hubbard

A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” -Salvador Dali

An artist is an explorer.” – Henri Matisse

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winter on whidbey

Here on Whidbey Island in the gray days of winter it can be easy to just hunker down at home with some hot tea and wait for Spring. But despite the overcast skies and chill in the air, winter on Whidbey is still a beautiful sight to see.

We have have beaches at every turn, and thanks to the turn of the tides every day at the beach is different than the day before. We have trails to hike through woods or on high bluffs, trails that wind across driftwood and next to wetlands.

Birds are abundant here. It doesn’t take but a watchful eye and a hint of patience to see everything from Kingfishers to Hummingbirds with the frequent Bald Eagle sighting to set the heart aflutter.

Whidbey Island deer can be very photogenic creatures. At Fort Casey, the deer traipse near to humans without so much as a second thought. I was lucky enough to come across a trio of deer enjoying a quiet morning. They allowed me to be near with nothing more than mirrored curiosity.

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Fort Casey offers beautiful vistas of Admirality Inlet, a strait that connects the Strait of Juan De Fuca with the Puget Sound. Every day, many times a day, a ferry travels from Whidbey across the waters to Port Townsend and back. These ferries are large with a maximum vehicle capacity of 64, of which they frequently transport multiple semi trucks with trailers. But compared to the expansive water, the ferry appears small.

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Sometimes to see the best of Whidbey you need to drive the back roads. Get off the beaten track and discover the beauty of this place. You may stumble across a piece of the island’s past, preserved in a patina of age.

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Winters on Whidbey can be a feast for the adventurous soul. Bundle up and get out there!

growth

 

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On the second day of this new year I visited a cemetery.  I walked alone among the headstones, in and out of family plots, next to a new grave topped with flowers that still sweetened the air with their aroma; the air so cold that my breathe rose in grand waves before me.

A cemetery is a place of endings, a place to mark a life once lived but laid to rest.  I read headstones of mothers and fathers, of leaders in the community, of teenagers, of babies.  And in that place of memories, I was reminded of the amazing gift life is.

I like living.  I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.

– Agatha Christie

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I step right into this new year expectantly, hopeful.  This will be a year of growth and change.

A couple of goals for Elinor McBride Photography:

  • visiting the Seattle Art Museum
  • displaying my work at an art show
  • being a presence at local events, capturing moments in our small community
  • networking with real estate agents to secure more listing photo sessions
  • selling prints of my work
  • continuing to learn and grow my skills

 

Happy 2018 from Elinor McBride Photography.